USFK Chief Resigned to Completing Relocation by 2012

Commander of the U.S. Forces Korea Gen. Burwell Bell expects the relocation of USFK headquarters and other bases here to be complete by 2012, four years later than planned.

Bell told the Stars and Stripes military newspaper that the South Korean consortium winning the bid for the relocation project will be tasked with completing it by 2012. The USFK chief earlier expressed dissatisfaction with the delay in the relocation of U.S. bases to Pyongtaek, south of Seoul. Korea and the U.S. agreed to complete the relocation by 2008, but many expect it to take four or five years longer. Bell’s most recent remarks suggest that he has accepted Korea’s view, but he appeared determined to start as soon as possible. “So there’s not going to be a giant movement one afternoon of thousands of Americans to Pyeongtaek,” he said.

“Hundreds of Republic of Korea staff officers and commanders and leaders would have moved down there with that operation. That is now not going to happen,” Bell said, since the allies agreed to disband Combined Forces Command by 2012. Bell “said he assumes South Korea will build its own headquarters in Seoul to house what he refers to as a ‘Republic of Korea Joint Forces Command,’” the paper added.

englishnews@chosun.com / Mar. 19, 2007 09:21 KST